The 2007 film “Hairspray” is particularly meaningful for me and my daughter. We got the newly released DVD of the film that Christmas and we watched it almost daily following the death of my father in January of 2008.
It was a movie with upbeat songs, high-energy dances and a positive message of inclusivity that could make us smile through our tears. The stars of the movie were exceedingly talented and so perfect for their roles – Nikki Blonsky as Tracy Turnblad, Zac Efron as Link Larkin, Brittany Snow as “mean girl” Amber Von Tussle, Michelle Pfeiffer as Velma Von Tussle, Christopher Walken as Tracy’s dad, Wilber Turnblad, and John Travolta in the genre-defying and laugh-inducing role of Tracy’s mother, Edna Turnblad. Queen Latifah as Motormouth Maybelle, James Marsden as Corny Collins and Amanda Bynes as Penny Pingleton were impressive in their dancing and singing roles, as well, leading a cast of amazing young performers.
I can’t tell you how many times we watched that DVD but I can say without doubt that the movie and its songs helped get us through one of the darkest times in our lives. We especially loved the last song of the film, “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” which one a People’s Choice Award for Best Song from a Soundtrack.
That summer, I read that the Tony Award-winning Broadway stage production of “Hairspray” was touring the nation and I decided my daughter and I should go see it. I searched for dates and places we could realistically visit and never found one.
In subsequent years, I searched for notices of a tour several times, but it wasn’t until last fall that I learned the 2022 tour of “Hairspray” was coming to Huntsville’s Von Braun Center on April 1-3, hosted by Broadway Theatre League. My daughter and I have tickets to see it and I plan to go twice so I can take my girlfriends to see a matinee.
Despite the fact that I haven’t seen the stage production, I know I will love it for several reasons:
- Same positive message as the film, which is sorely needed right now;
- The songs! Those incredible songs!
- The intimacy of a live stage performance is such an emotional experience. I can’t stress this enough: seeing a group of talented actors and singers perform on stage is one of the most amazing events I have ever experienced.
I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited for a musical to come to my town – and I’ve seen all kinds of wonderful shows, including “Annie,” “The Sound of Music” and “Grease” here.
The New York Times wrote: “If life were everything it should be, it would be more like ‘Hairspray.’ It’s irresistible!” I couldn’t agree more.
I hope you’ll come out to see the show. You’ll find me in the audience. I’ll probably be singing, maybe even dancing, but I definitely will be smiling.